The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chikungunya is here

Calcutta, Oct. 13: Chikungunya has been confirmed in Bengal, raising the possibility that hundreds may be affected by the disease.

Two of the seven blood samples sent from Baduria in North 24-Parganas have tested positive for chikungunya at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

“The report was received today by the School of Tropical Medicine in Calcutta,” a health department official said. STM director D.K. Niyogi declined comment.

According to official figures, 1,234 people in 15-odd villages in North 24-Parganas’ Baduria and Swarupnagar are down with fever.

If the 2:7 ratio of the Pune tests holds true across the belt, some 350 people should have caught chikungunya, a health official conjectured.

“It is now absolutely essential for us to get chikungunya test kits instead of sending samples to Pune,” he added.

STM is the lone hospital in the state that has a chikungunya testing centre.

Calculating from ratios, however, doesn’t always work, as shown by tests for dengue done on 27 blood samples collected from the same belt.

“Of the first 13 samples tested, three were dengue positive. But in the second batch there was no dengue virus,” said Shyamalendu Chatterjee of the virus unit at the Indian Council of Medical Research, Calcutta, which did the tests.

Calcutta today threw up 11 new dengue cases, raising the city total to 50. Calcutta Municipal Corporation officials said the new cases were reported from Topsia, Tiljala and Burrabazar.

K.K. Adhikary, chief medical officer of health, North 24-Parganas, said the number of people with fever was increasing. “But some of the cases have symptoms of seasonal fever, too.”

The district administration has set up several medical camps in the villages with 32 doctors overseeing symptomatic treatment. The health department’s paramedics and field staff have been visiting homes to conduct surveys.

The outbreak in Baduria was first reported on September 1. Health officials say the virus was probably carried from Delhi by a goldsmith who caught the infection in August.

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